Manchester City escaped Glasgow with a 3-3 draw Wednesday evening in the Champions League fixture against Celtic FC. What was a thrilling game for the neutral was borderline painful at times for the City supporter. Guardiola named a strong starting XI hoping to maintain their strong Champions League place, but the squad played well below their average, and certainly their manager’s expectations.
The Blues were able to score, but the play at the back left a lot to be desired. Whether it was defending set pieces or stopping a Celtic counter attack, City were poor and at times abhorrent in their defense. Despite these abject performances there were some bright spots in the build up play and attack.
City don't have much time to lament the tie however. An incredibly tough match at White Hart Lane awaits them on Sunday. A draw means City are unlikely to win their group now, but their minds must be on North London starting Thursday. With that in mind, let’s review each of the players that played against Celtic Wednesday night.
Claudio Bravo: 5.5
Bravo couldn't be blamed for any of the goals really, but at the end of the day he still gave them up. Two deflections and a missed clearance by a defender were hardly his fault, but his distribution left a lot to be desired at times as well.
Pablo Zabaleta: 5.5
The Argentine had an up-and-down game. At times he looked great in building up the attack and helping Sterling out wide; at other times, Zaba seemed bereft of ways to stop Celtic’s attack down the right. Pep’s selection for the right-back position this weekend will be interesting.
Nicolas Otamendi: 6.5
Otamendi had a good game despite the dumpster-fire occurring around him at times. When called upon he always answered, not something that can be said of every City defender. Nico continued to provide what he’s added all year: good defensive coverage and solid passing from the back.
Aleksandar Kolarov: 4.5
A bit of a ‘mare from Kolarov tonight. At times the Serb was caught diving into challengea and giving away free-kicks in dangerous areas. Even worse was when he chose to push forward and not track back on a potential break. There were a few decent moments, and Kolarov definitely played better once he was moved out left, but overall this is a night Kolarov will prefer to forget.
Gael Clichy: 5.5
stellar defensive ratings roll onto Gael Clichy. This man has rarely looked comfortable in Guardiola’s system, with this being the worst of those performances. Giving the ball away and losing his man were regular occurrences for Clichy, and it was no surprise when the Frenchman was pulled off in the second half.
Despite scoring the opener for City, Fernandinho had possibly his worst game of the season. It seemed the Brazilian just didnt know how to handle Celtic’s pacy midfielders. Dinho was constantly beat to 50/50 balls and continued to lunge into challenges, miss, and subsequently allow Celtic to counter attack.
David Silva: 7.5
"El mago" played the full 90 again coming off his injury. The good news is it looks like this injury problem is behind him, and he’ll be needed in top form as soon as possible. Silva played some great passes, as well as dribbled his way through the Celtic defense at times. On a night when City lacked creativity, Silva was the lone bright spot.
Ilkay Gundogan: 6.5
The German put in another "meh" performance this evening. His corners were "meh". His passing was "meh". His free-kick was very good, and forced the Celtic keeper into a good save. The fact Gundogan struggled with some of City’s best on the pitch is not a good sign once De Bruyne is fit.
Raheem Sterling: 7.5 (City Man of the Match)
Sterling continues to have great games under Pep. His own goal was the result of hard work and trying to help the struggling defense. His goal was the result of a great run and even better skill and composure in the box. He’ll surely be tested this weekend against Tottenham.
The Spaniard had another good showing in sky blue. Despite being suspended from domestic competitions, he slotted right back into the squad and was johnny on the spot for his goal. His suspension can't end soon enough as it seems Pep is unsure about Sané or Navas at this point in time.
Sergio Agüero: 6.5
Aguero had a night of "almosts" and "could haves". The Argentine striker was close on numerous occasions but could never find the right finish. He’ll have to move on quickly as his next task is to find the back of the net against one of the best defenses in the entire Premier League.
John Stones: 7.0
Leaving Stones out for rest was perhaps an oversight by Pep. The defense sure could have used his pace and calm nature on a night they were all over the place.
Wasn't on the pitch long, but the Brazilian was fine in possession and trying got help City find the winner.
So that’s our ratings. City have an incredibly tough test on Sunday against Tottenham, and we’ll see how or if Pep rotates the squad. Don't be surprised to see Stones back in the starting XI and who comes in for Nolito is certainly intriguing. Be sure to comment below with your ratings and who you think was City’s man of the match!